Tiffin, OH - A proposal to re-open a shuttered school is dividing the community of Tiffin.
The plan calls for the building to house a special needs preschool.
13abc's Christine Long reports from Tiffin where parents of students with disabilities spoke out to the school board Tuesday night.
For more than two decades, the Tiffin City School District's special needs preschool service has been outsourced to a different facility.
Now the district wants to bring that back under its own roof. However, some parents worry that will hurt their children's development and education.
Young Wyatt Vicek-Amory needs his wheelchair and a lot of attention. He has Downs Syndrome and a severe epileptic disorder.
Wyatt turns three years old in May. His dad expected him to go to the Family Learning Center for preschool in the fall. But the Tiffin City School District proposed to end its contract with that facility and instead reopen the Lincoln Elementary building as what's called the Tiffin Learning Center. It's a center that would not be accessible to Wyatt's needs.
"My emotional attachment is ... are they going to be able to do what's right for my child? Can you provide the same level of service or better than what he's going to get there?" asks Brandon Amory, Wyatt's father.
Amory spoke out at Tuesday's special school board meeting, saying, "He is going to be discriminated against."
"The children here at stake are special needs kids," says James Fruth, a parent. "Be prepared for a slew of lawsuits."
"What you are doing is flat out wrong," says Josh Thacker, the father of a boy with a speech delay. "I beg you, please don't do this."
During Tuesday's meeting, district administrators presented the preschool plan. It would consist of four half days per week with certified special education teachers including a speech and language pathologist. The district would be able to control curriculum and save an estimated one million dollars over five years.
However, the board voted 2-3 not to make the preschool change this fall.
"I'm not against this, but I don't think we're ready for this year," says one school board member who voted against the proposal to reopen the Lincoln Elementary building as a special needs preschool for the 2014-2015 school year.
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